For some people the music created by bands as Miranda Sex Garden and Dead Can Dance comes pretty close to the style of music we call progressive rock. Those bands call their music 'goth with classical influences'. Well, in a way it's true that goth comes relatively close to prog. You may call the Münster based German band Via Obscura a goth band as well.
Via Obscura were formed in 2004 as an experimental project, but things got out of hand due to unexpected success which made them decide to become a real band. The band members have a jazz, gothic rock, doom and classical background. Currently Via Obscura consist of Anne-S.Thinius (vocals, keyboards, piano), Alexander Thinius (guitars, drums, orchestral arrangement, programming) and André Manke (bass). All three musicians are very open-minded towards different musical genres thus creating a special kind of slow and atmospheric music. However, at the same time the music is very powerful with aggressive guitars and sometimes even epical as a result of the bombastic keyboard sounds. All these different styles are connected by the soprano voice of their female singer, who sings in the German language.
This special sound was discovered by the legendary producer Siggi Bemm, who worked with acts as Tiamat, Lacuna Coil, Tristania, Boa and Farmer Boys. He was so impressed by Via Obscura that he recorded their debut album Traum, released in October 2009. The band's second album Gedanken appeared in 2012 again with Bemm at the helm. The eight tracks on Gedanken are all sung in German, but that didn't bother me that much because to me it's above all the music that matters. For Gedanken Via Obscura created good and enjoyable songs and close to the style I like the most. The many mellow musical passages performed on the keyboards sound very atmospheric. Occasionally a heavy guitar riff provides for the indispensable variety and sometimes the drum beats get into a higher gear, so there's no need to fall asleep. The female vocals are crystal clear and never over the top. The songs have a fine mixture of the aforementioned styles and sound very professional.
People who like the music of Miranda Sex Garden, Dead Can Dance and a band like Anathema should check out Gedanken by Via Obscura. If you don't have enough money to buy this album you're lucky, because Gedanken is available as a free download at their website. Enjoy!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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